§ Mr. Randall
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2002,Official Report, column 1092W, if she will make a statement on the nature of the business requirements referred to; and how many 0870 numbers are used. 
§ Ms Hewitt
My Department uses 0870 numbers for the United Kingdom Information Society technology helpline (UKISHELP) and the Publications Orderline. The Publications Orderline uses three 0870 numbers (general orderline, fax and Minicom).
The use of 0870 numbers conforms with the Office of e-Envoy's Guidelines for UK Government Call Centres and offers a number that is chargeable at the same rate from any fixed telephone regardless of the location of the caller within the UK.
The call centres for both UKISHELP and the Publications Orderline are provided by contractors and an 0870 number has the advantage of providing a geographically independent portable number owned by my Department, so that in the event of a new contractor being appointed the number can be seamlessly transferred without any inconvenience to enquirers.